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Logical Decisions For Downsizing

Published by: Rus Hunt, CFP® Date: January 28, 2020

My wife and I live out in the country, in Blount County, with limited options for television or internet service. Fiber optic is not available, and cable has a very high set-up cost so we have had satellite internet and television service for several years. For the price we paid, both were marginal at best. About a year ago we got tired of paying a high price for television service, so we cut the cord and attached a digital antenna. Now, instead of paying a lot for nothing much to watch, we pay nothing for nothing much to watch. We follow the Vols by radio now, have done a lot more reading and get to sleep earlier.

There was one show we did get hooked on watching – Jeopardy. We started watching just at the start of James Holzauer’s run of 32 consecutive wins. It was fascinating watching him overwhelm his competitors show after show and set daily records for amounts won. He ended up amassing $2,464,216 in 33 appearances or nearly $75,000 per show. His knowledge was amazing but it was his strategy and risk-taking that set him apart from any players I had ever seen before.

As the streak continued, more and more information became available about “Jeopardy James”.  He didn’t just know a lot of trivia, but had a very intentional plan that prepared him to compete and win a lot of matches and money. His style of play was to go for the big money clues first, move quickly to different categories, and then make large bets when he had the chance. In most games he was so far ahead that by Final Jeopardy he could not lose. This was definitely a winning style, but a lot of time and effort was spent in preparation before he ever went on the show. He used children’s books of facts to maximize his time in studying trivia, constructed a buzzer to practice his timing, and always wore dress shoes and stood while playing practice rounds. It was truly amazing to watch him play the game, but the planning beforehand is what helped him win.

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®,  I am not sure I would recommend playing Jeopardy as a way to jump-start your investment assets, but I would recommend learning something about preparation and planning from James Holzauer. The most important thing to his success was that he had a well thought-out plan and then executed it. If you have a financial goal but do not have a realistic plan there is little chance you will be successful. I would encourage you to spend some time formulating your short and long term financial goals. Start wherever you are and outline a plan to begin working toward those goals. Working with a financial planner to review, refine, implement and monitor your plan will provide professional expertise in helping you reach your financial goals.